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Category: Cabin Con (Page 1 of 2)

Cabin Con 2017 Recap

Our yearly game gathering, Cabin Con, has come and gone.  It was a great time this year and I think we’ve hit our stride as we’ve done this enough times to relax a bit on the planning and still have it work very well.   Six of us were there this year and we hit a ton of game over the four and a half days.  Below is a quick recap:

  • The Duke (11 plays) – The Duke was by far the most played game we hit during the weekend.  It helps that three of us are avid players.

The Duke

  • Mystic Vale (3 plays) – We finally got this deck-builder to the table and even though I’ve gotten stomped in every game, there is something seductive about the card crafting you do.
  • Rattus (1 play) – We first hit this last year and it still proves to be an engaging area-control game.
  • Santorini (3 plays) – A new abstract game for the group but while it looks amazing, it doesn’t have the strategic pull that The Duke offers.  Still a fun time though.
  • Camel Up (2 plays) – A perennial favorite with our group due to the willingness to push the camels into complete chaos and never let a camel get too far ahead or behind.
  • 7 Wonders (2 plays) – It’s been awhile since we hit this old standby but with 6 players at the cabin, this is a perfect medium weight game that can get everyone involved
  • Star Wars: Destiny (1 play) – I tried this late at night and with non-starter decks thrown together and the experience was pretty miserable.  Maybe the game will be better with beginner decks.
  • Tiny Epic Galaxies (1 play) – We have a lot of “Tiny Epic” fans so it wasn’t a surprise to see one of these games hit the table.
  • Road Hog (1 play) – I picked this game up right before the ‘Con and during a lull, we put it out.  It went as expected (light, tactical game) but definitely needs more players to be interactive.

Road Hog

  • Fugitive (1 play) – I only saw the tail end of this game so I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  Seemed like an asymmetrical deductive game.
  • One Deck Dungeon (6 plays) – This game saw a lot of hits last year but as a solo game, it was usually pulled out when others were busy doing something else.  To my knowledge, no one ever won a game.
  • Dead Man’s Draw (1 play) – This light card game could have come out a lot more but most of us are pushing variety in gaming during this ‘Con so it’ll have to wait for a different lull in our gaming schedule to see more table time.
  • Isle of Skye (1 play) – This Carcassonne killer always seems to come out when we have new players.  What’s nice is the new player tends to win out.  Maybe the veterans just overthink this game.
  • Wrath of Dragons (1 play) – I was tasked with running this one but totally didn’t prep enough so it ended up pretty botched. Even with the rules mistakes, I was reminded how much I like this game.  Now that we’ve gotten a game under our belt as a group, it’ll be good to throw it on the table again.

Wrath of Dragons… sort of.

  • Valeria: Card Kingdoms (1 play) – This engine building game initially sounded like a better themed Machi Koro but quickly turned into a slog and just seemed to never end.  It might have been the weird card combinations that came out but it was sad to see it fall flat after so much potential.
  • Crokinole (3 plays) – Our top dexterity game got some love this weekend with new players.
  • Liar’s Dice (1 play) – This Cabin Con darling didn’t get as much love this year but still made an appearance.
  • X-wing Miniatures Game (1 play) – We decided to break out some X-wing since my friend has kept on collecting even after I stopped.  It had been awhile since the last time I played but it came back quickly and has started a renewed interest.  I’m sure we’ll see more it hit the table again in the future.

X-wing bombing run

  • Friday (1 play) – This solo game hit while I was sleeping.
  • Five Minute Dungeon (2 plays) – Another “while I was sleeping” game.  Too many late night miniatures games to meet up with the early risers
  • Roll for the Galaxy (1 play) – Another hot game from yesteryear and we all agreed that we forgot how much we like this game.  Hopefully we’ll see it come out again.

Roll for the Galaxy

  • Patchwork (1 play) – This game was going on when I pulled out Hnefatafl.
  • Hnefatafl (1 play) – We tried this ancient abstract game again, this time using more established rules (4 enemies to capture the king, no one can go through the middle or ship spaces, King can’t capture, etc). It went a lot smoother but we’re basically in the infancy of learning this one.
  • Championship Formula Racing (2 plays) – One of the Cabin Con “premiere” games for this year.  We held back-to-back races to crown a Cabin Con Cup winner.  Players were discussing the possibility of playing a 3rd game so it must have went over well.  Report to follow.

Championship Formula Racing

  • Mansions of Madness (1 play) – We tried to bust out a game of co-op Descent but we forgot to bring the map tiles so we switched gears and pulled out Mansions instead.  I led us to ruin as my strong armed but weak-minded gangster went insane and melted his mind in only a few turns near the end.  The game is ok but for all the story-driven content, it’s weird that there is no story for how our random bunch of misfits came together in the first place.
  • Villages of Valeria (1 play) – I missed this one as well.
  • Clank! (2 plays) – Another deck builder to hit the table.  I think this is my favorite concept of the deck builder genre.  The combination of board play and deck building works very well with so many push-your-luck elements.
  • Kingsburg (1 play) – This game is an old standby of mine. It hasn’t come out in years but it was good to see it again.
  • Valley of the Kings: Afterlife (1 play) – Another game I missed. It looked like light deck builder.
  • Jamaica (1 play) – This pirate racing game used be a big hit even among new players but it played pretty middle tier when it hit with the group. It has some oddly restrictive actions so I wonder if that just irked the players a little.
  • Batman Miniature Game (1 play) – As I wrote about last week, we finished up our LED lampposts and got it to the table. Report to follow.

Batman Miniature Game

Batman Miniature Game

  • Quadropolis (1 play) – The last game we hit at Cabin Con.  It’s a nice little city builder that went down to a tiebreaker victory.

All in all, we hit 32 unique games in 58 total games played over the four and a half day period.  Not too bad.

(baby) moose

and squirrel!

Until Next Time!

CabinCon Prep: Tiny Ass Numbers on Tiny Ass Cars

With CabinCon (our yearly friend meet-up where we catch up and play games up in the mountains) starting Wednesday, there are few things I want to get done before I leave so today was a major prep day.

One thing I want to host this year is a Championship Formula Racing mini cup, a “CabinCon Cup,” if you will.  This will be two or three races with point scoring to determine the overall winner.  I picked up a set of 1957 F1 cars on Shapeways to serve as each player’s cars and as is our custom for CabinCon, these will be given away to each player along with whatever placement prize they achieve during the CabinCon Cup.

After painting a set of the cars up, I wanted to work on the “trophy” stands that will also serve as prizes for the event.

This is a pretty simple stand with a little wooden bit at the bottom and a dowel post at the top, which will support the car.  Magnets for the post and the cars will make it so the cars stay on the stand and can be interchangeable.

So here we have the concept all primed up.  I then had to drill into the cars to magnetize them.  This always sucks but I’ve gotten used to it after all the Dropzone Commander that I’ve magnetized.

Just make sure to mark the magnets for polarity so that everything lines up at the end.

Next came the painting of the actual cars.  Unlike my last set of painted Formula 1 cars, I used google image search more for inspiration rather than trying to find the actual car color schemes.

The 1957 formula 1 cars are pretty conservative on detail which made painting them up pretty quick.  I decided to enhance that detail by adding numbers this time.  Not sure how soon I’ll be doing that again though.  It is really time-consuming and a bit nerve-wracking.  I’m pretty happy with the results but it’s not something I want to jump back into tomorrow. Luckily, I don’t have to as I’m all done with the cars.

Now to complete the trophy stands.

Convention Season Prelude

This past weekend kicked off the start of my usual convention season prep with the annual Gen Con event registration.  This will be my eleventh Gen Con and one would think I’d be used to the stress and frustration of their event registration process but no such luck.

I can’t complain though. This is the 50th anniversary of Gen Con so there is a lot of demand for hot events and so getting into those requires some blind luck.  I was happy to make it into one of the sold out event slots for CMON’s upcoming Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game and I’m excited to go see They Might Be Giants.  I’ve wanted to see that band live for years now so having an exclusive event sounds like a great way to hear them.

image from the publisher via BGG

Another event that has me excited is a run-through of the co-op variant of X-wing Miniatures, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster.  I’ve loved X-wing since my first starter box at the premiere in Gen Con 2012 and this fan-made co-op variant sounds like a lot of fun.  The designers of the variant have the whole print-n-play available for download but it’ll be great to see it all ready to go and be taught the system first hand.

image from IDW Games kickstarter campaign

Some other demo events like Blood & Plunder and Rayguns & Rocketships round out my schedule with an interesting workshop on painting non-metallic metals (NMM) as a non-gaming event.  The NMM event is interesting for my black & white Walking Dead game as I’m not sure how to really paint items like Michonne’s katana in true black and white.  I could cheat and paint with metallics but that sounds like it would be pretty out of place.

blood & plunder image from firelock games site

With the good comes the bad or maybe just disappointing.  It was odd to see that Mantic didn’t have much presence for Walking Dead: All Out War.  It seems to be selling very well for them but the only events were a bunch of duplicated one-off events and I’m not even sure the organizer is from Mantic.  Maybe they were late submitting the events and they’ll come in later.

Also disappointing was the lack of any Championship Formula Racing from Jolly Roger/Upper Deck.  They hosted some demo events last year and with the games release, I would have expected at least something.

I wasn’t able to get into any Wasteland Express Delivery events to try that game out. Someone also had an interesting “Mario Kart” version of X-wing they were going to run at 2 hours but cancelled all of the events at the last minute.  There is another similar event but it is a bit longer at 5 hours and I just don’t have the schedule for that.

Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised that all the events I decided to run this year have sold out.  That is very exciting as I had a lot of fun last year running things like my Loopin’ Chewie tournament and I’m excited to get some additional dexterity games like my favorite Catacombs and a Pitchcar variant into the event roster.

As exciting as Gen Con 50 is shaping up to be, it is still a few months off and I have another event coming up right around the corner: Cabin Con!

This is our yearly little private gathering where a few friends and I go up into the mountains and geek out on all things board games for a few days.  I’ve already got some fun events planned and it should be a great time.

Walking Dead comes to Grand Lake, Part 2

And now for Part 2 of our epic CabinCon game of The Walking Dead: All Out War.  If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here.

disclaimer: The Walking Dead: All Out War game has not been released as of this post. All miniatures, scenery, and components are either mocked up or proxies from other games.


Cabin Fever

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Running low on gas, our heroes make back to the cabin and immediately take stock of the situation. They scavenge for weapons and gear from the cabin.  The truck’s CB comes to life with a loud hiss.  A rescue helicopter is searching for survivors to be airlifted to a safezone.  After relaying the cabin’s location, the search team tell the heroes to sit tight and await rescue.  The team builds some makeshift barricades and it isn’t long before they start to hear the unnerving sound of the dead approaching…

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Armed and ready, the team splits into two groups, protecting the front of the cabin closest to the road, and the open vulnerable side.

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A large mass of walkers congregated near the back of the cabin.  The team had access to a few half-full gas cans so we made some improvised explosives.  The gas can/molotov cocktail works perfectly and takes out quite a few walkers.

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With the back taken care of, the front of the cabin starts to see more walkers, attracted to fighting and explosion.

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Unfortunately, the gas can explosion didn’t destroy as many walkers as we hoped.  And now some of the walkers that didn’t perish in the initial blast and heat rise again, only this time on fire.  The explosion itself also brought even more dead to the party.

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The team retreats back to the front of the cabin and when things start to look really desperate, the team hears the unmistakable sound of a helicopter.  Their is no safe place to land so it drops a ladder down in the road near the front corner of the cabin lot.

The sounds draws the walkers to the front where one of the heroes was making his last stand.

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The main group of heroes, wounded and slow, are swarmed by a fresh group of undead.  Reese, determined to hold back the flaming horde, holds his ground. Finally, our last two heroes are pinned behind the truck and our makeshift barricade, while more dead pour in that gap, trapping them.  Rescue is just within reach but the dead are relentless.

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The team concocts a bold plan- throw the last gas can bomb at the horde around Reese.  It works! The walkers are all knocked down and Reese is cooked but still alive.  We use the distraction to get Taylor, previously savaged by the dead and looking like he has one foot in the grave already, to the helicopter and rescued.  Jeremy, pinned with me behind the truck makes a break for the ladder as well while I distract walkers my way.

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I join Colton, now getting into trouble with walkers as well.  Since all of the walkers surrounding Reese are still down, he makes a run for the helicopter.  Our comrade from the restaurant, Vincent Blade-y Hands falls to the swarm but Sterling is able to break free and escape.

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Before Taylor passes out in the helicopter, he realizes that he still has the truck keys. Seeing his friends still in trouble, he hits the car alarm button, distracting the walkers and allowing the rest of us to break free and get up the ladder

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RESCUED!

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Aftermath

This session started with everyone getting new equipment and increasing a stat per the campaign rules.  Like most RPG/RPG-light games, this progression always gives the character more development opportunities and gets the players more invested in the game.

I knew a danger with playing another session would be keeping interest.  All too often, we’ll have a great first game experience and everyone wants to try it again but the second game falls flat as it fails to capture the magic of the initial game.  Kind of like movie sequels, I guess.

I had to manipulate the game a little more this time as I didn’t understand how powerful our group would be fully armed. It started off a bit too easy with a few walkers surrounding the cabin and they were easily picked off.  I started throwing full groups of walkers at us and that helped ratchet up the danger.

The group had some great ideas for getting out of the different situations:

  • Taylor turning on the truck alarm was particularly brilliant as he was basically out of the game due to being the first rescued.
  • Sterling tried (and failed) to convince Blade-y Hands to sacrifice himself for the group.
  • Reese telling the group to center the gas bomb on himself in the hopes of getting rid of the swarm around him.

I had a lot of fun running and playing the event and it had a great ending that seemed to satisfy everyone.  It also left a lot of story ideas to continue on in case we have another session:

Taylor was wounded and bitten in the chopper with only one health remaining… will he survive? Will he turn? How will that affect the helicopter rescue? Several other heroes were bitten and wounded as well. What of their fate? Where are they going and who is the crazy rescue pilot?

Walking Dead comes to Grand Lake, Part 1

So I’ve talked a bit about my CabinCon prep for the Walking Dead minis game (All Out War) by Mantic Games but I got the chance to put the whole thing together and play two epic sessions.  The first session is below.

disclaimer: The Walking Dead: All Out War game has not been released as of this post. All miniatures, scenery, and components are either mocked up or proxies from other games.


Taco Troubles

As has been tradition since the first CabinCon, a group of friends head down to the local restaurant Pancho and Lefty’s for a chance to get out of the cabin and stretch their legs.

from Take My Trip dot com

The friends all take a seat at a large table on the side of the open restaurant.  Before the server can even take a drink order everyone sees a flash pass quickly by the restaurant front window followed by an explosion that rumbles the walls.

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The group jumps up and starts to run through various emotional reactions, some running to the window to see what is going on, while others cower in the corner taking cover from an unseen threat.

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Eventually some brave souls venture outside only to find carnage and mayhem have taken over the town of Grand Lake.

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We find that the source of the explosion was the fiery wreck that once was our main mode of transportation, Reese’s Xterra.

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Unfortunately, the fire and explosion brought some unwelcome guests… The Walking Dead.

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Things start to get interesting as the Dead are now breaking into the back of the restaurant.

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This forces our heroes into the street with only the most rudimentary weapons.  Don, the local Police Officer is a good shot but years of training to fire at center mass is hard to ignore.  Don is making a lot of noise and attracting more hungry dead.

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The team starts to converge around the only intact vehicle in sight and start to make their stand.

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Just when the heroes had scoured the area for a way to start the truck, a man stumbles out of the adjacent building.  He is wounded and being chased by several Walkers.

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Too quickly, he falls and the heroes cannot save him.  Don is finally overwhelmed and pulled down by the undead and consumed.

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In the wounded man’s hand are a set of Chevy keys. The heroes distract the walkers and grab the keys to make a run for the truck.  They are able to get in and get it started but the Walkers surround the vehicle.

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Unfortunately, one friend had gone to check out the other side of the lot and was making a stand with newfound friend, Vincent “blade-y hands” and didn’t realize the party was over.

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The heroes knock over the slow dead and make a bee-line to their comrade and newfound friend and drive off to the closest safe haven they know- the Cabin.

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VICTORY for now…

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Aftermath

The guys had a lot of fun with the new Walking Dead: All Out Wars rules and I found the system to be extremely flexible.  I ran it (and warned the players) that I would likely treat it more like an RPG and push/pull the events for maximum effect.  In this way, I would take a back seat to the decisions since I new how a lot of the scenario would play out and just ran around to help.

We were obviously playing the game under the “Solo” rules and I expanded it to a co-operative level with each player controlling their own avatar.  I didn’t worry too much about the NPCs and only really played them for story effect (to be eaten or cause “Mayhem”- the game’s way of escalating the dangerous encounters in the game and the main way the heroes can lose).

For each player’s avatar stats, I made a private quiz to find out a little more about each attendee and suit a 30 point character to match as close as possible within the limits of the system.  Then I created the personal standees after getting some “action shots” of the guys with various weapons. This really got the guys interested and had them feel that something was on the line as they played the game.

To help further immerse the group, I made some crude papercraft buildings loosely representing the restaurant we frequent and the surrounding area.  Google Earth came in handy as it made for a passable paper playmat with the street and parking lot outside. This also helped keep the guys interested as the game environment slowly evolved as the game progressed.  We started in the restaurant map and it could have easily stayed inside there for the whole game if I wanted but I knew I wanted this to feel somewhat like an RPG with exploration elements and unknown events triggering somewhat logically.

Speaking of events, the game comes with a deck of random events that trigger at the end of each round and working in special events that I randomly placed in the deck, made for a very organic story that developed.  The main “end scenario” event was placed in a random set of the last 6 event cards so even I didn’t know how far along we had to survive before we could leave and end the scenario.

I designed the little scenario to be a one-off in case people thought it was fun but not worth going through again the next night.  Lucky for me, everyone loved it and wanted more so I had the “part 2” as an optional continuation of the story.  Again, the rules really open this up for players as it deals with achievement and advancement in between the scenarios.  Before the next scenario, I had the guys “level up” their character and based on how well we did during Part 1, we received time to search the Cabin for weapons, arm up and prepare for what was coming up in Part 2.

 

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